Maintaining my ‘hardly-student-studenthood’ I came out of my last exam at University and within 10 days started full time work. Now, for most students, the summer following graduation is full of far-flung holidays and trips to relax and enjoy the last summer of freedom. As usual, I didn’t quite follow the trend and decided on work straight away. However, I am not one to spend my free time sleeping, drinking or watching TV. Instead, I’ve utilised the weekends of late and have had what I’d call ‘mini-holidays’ away with my closest friends.
This #27hours series is a little guide on how best to make the most of 27 hours in Britain’s most scenic spots (without breaking the bank).
#27HOURS in Llangollen
After visiting Snowdonia as a young teenager I found a love for scenic landscapes, the mountains and outdoor adventures (whilst unfortunately realising camping was really not my thing – yes, you’re probably questioning how one can both love outdoor adventures and hate camping …. no I don’t know how that happened).
This particular trip (which has without doubt been one of my favourites) came about when I was searching for a ‘different’ Valentines Day gift to give to Ali. Given the time frame and resulting ‘travel radius’ Snowdonia wasn’t really an option, whereas North Wales was. Whilst on AirBnB I came across some rogue-looking ‘glamping’ at The Forge, looked into it. Without hesitation I booked it straight away. Here’s the lowdown of our weekend full of grass, smiles and laughter.
The ‘Castell Dinas Bran’ ruins in Llangollen was our first stop. We found a cheap car park and (after initially walking in the opposite direction) found the trail up to the top. I’m not usually one to leave planning to the last minute but a late Friday night search on google (and a scan of the 188 reviews) told us this place was pretty cool. Although only ruins remain, the stunning views from the 506m-ish high hill were rewarding even through the clouds. Our climb was fuelled by chocolate pan-au-chocolat’s and chocolate raisins.
Lunch was eaten in the Llangollen village at ‘Fouzi’s Café Bar & Pizzeria. A little note to my gluten-free foodies that this place had a really good GF menu (marked on the normal menu with ‘GF’) and even served gluten free pizza! I opted for a goats cheese, beetroot and walnut salad whilst Ali had a grilled panini. If you’re sat in the window of the Bar you’ll notice the length of the name of the shop opposite is somewhat lengthy – Ysiopfachgardiauwrthybontdrosyrafonddyfrdwyynllangollen. We had a wonder and headed back to the car.
The next check-in was The Forge, roughly a 30 minute drive west of Llangollen in Corwen. We were greeted by sheep, a field full of lovely glamping teepees and Sheena, the owner. The Forge consists of 3 glamping-style 4-man teepees, each with their own kitchen, decking with a bench, decomposing toilet and shared hot showers (these were IMPRESSIVE!).
Each teepee contained a double bed and 2 singles, proper matressess (!!), blankets, camping lights, hot water bottles, board games, cards and plenty of space to chill. The kitchen was filled with pots & pans and tea & coffee along with a freezer box, gas stove, whistling kettle and a mains supply of drinking water.
We made ourselves at home with some drinks and tunes before making, and demolishing, a chorizo risotto. The showers were your usual indoor showers just in a wooden hut…honestly this was quite surprising! We were lucky enough to catch the sunset whilst Ali made a little fire (if dinner had been less-sufficient, toasting marshmallows would have been on the cards). The mattress was uber comfy and the evening was just perfect.
The sun on the tent woke us up. We had a little fry-up with tea for breakfast before tidying up, taking in the last little bits of the lovely glampsite and getting back on the road. We headed back slightly beyond Llangollen to Ty Mawr Country Park where we had a little plod in the sun towards the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. We followed signs to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Viewpoint and found a rope swing en-route for some shady entertainment.
Unfortunately as it was a Sunday a lot of the restaurants were closed (not too sure why?) so we headed to Tescos for some much-needed treats before heading home knackered but full of smiles.
We’d both highly recommend visiting The Forge, Cowen – whether it’s for a night on the way to Snowdonia or just for a relaxing getaway, this place has been hand-crafted to an exceptional level and I guarantee you’ll have an amazing time.